April 24, 2021

01

Avalanche Lake 09/23/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana
The most important thing
is what needs to be done
moment-by-moment
in each situation as it arises.

Take care of the moment!
The moment matters most!

Doing right by our moments
adds up to doing right by our life.
Nobody can do better than that.

What did you miss,
thinking about something else,
in the last moment?

What are you missing in this one?

Lay everything aside
to see the moment.
To listen to the moment.
To know what is being called for
in the moment.

Live to serve the moment.
And let everything fall out
around that.

–0–

02

Lenten Rose 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Charlotte, North Carolina
The silence is God without the theology.
You don't have to take anything on faith
except the truth you know to be so
but can't believe it is.

Bring up the Two Circles Metaphor
and apply it here.

The Two Circles Metaphor asks you 
to imagine two congruent circles
side-by-side with a common tangent
(that is to say, touching).
The two circles are anything
that stand in opposition to each other,
the contraries that make up our life.
And you stand at their point of contact,
reconciling what can be reconciled,
integrating what can be integrated,
harmonizing what can be harmonized,
and bearing the pain of mutual exclusion
where it must be borne.

The contact point between The Circles of Confusion,
The Circles of Conflict,
is the place of the cross.
When Jesus said "Take up your cross
and come with me,"
he meant "Stand at the center-point  
between your conflicts
and contradictions,
bearing the agony of their opposition,
and come with me--
because that is where life is to be lived."

Place who you are in one circle
and who you also are in the other circle.
Or you in one circle and you job in the other.
Or you and any of your conflicts.
and consider the circles.

Sit with the circles.
Feeling the anguish generated by the circles,
in the silence of the moment.
Wait.
Watching.
For something to happen.
For something to shift.
For something to arise in the moment,
to appear in the moment,
to emerge in the moment,
to occur to you in the moment,
to beckon to you in the moment,
to dawn upon you in the moment...

You are waiting "for the mud to settle
and the water to clear."
For the way to open before you.
For what needs to be done
to become apparent.

Then, it will be a matter of summoning
the courage to do it.

This is the "Thy will, not mine, be done"
moment in the moment,
with the "Thy" understood to be the silence.

It is important to understand the silence
to be beyond comprehension,
beyond understanding.
If you want to give it a name,
call it The Tao,
because "Tao" carries no baggage.
It is a word devoid of referents.
It has no more meaning than the word "silence."

And see it as the origin of everything,
the source of all that is,
a circle containing the Two Circles.
And if that appears to you as the 
Yin/Yang symbol,
it should come as no surprise to you
at this point in the conversation.

–0–

03

Maple Leaves 11/26/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Greensboro, North Carolina
Religion is about getting God on our side.

Gaining favor with God.
Accumulating merit with God.
Securing forgiveness for our sins
and acquiring eternal reward
for our faithful obedience.

Who would go to a so-called worship service--
as though worship can be scheduled
or created with loud music and louder preaching--
if it weren't for heaven and hell?

Take heaven and hell off the table,
and who would give God a second glance?

Religion is good for heaven and hell,
and for providing the route to escape hell
and enter into heaven and its everlasting bliss
(Neverminding how eventually even everlasting bliss
devolves in to boredom and more of the same old same old).

"Nevermind," the proponents of religion say,
"God has a plan."
God's plan includes the world as it is.
If this is the best God can do,
I wouldn't count on eternity being all that great.

Religion spends its time, and ours,
"barking up the wrong tree."
Talking to us about how to get God on our side.

That Which Has Always Been Called "God"
is already on our side.
It is only a matter of getting ourselves
together with That Which Has Our Best Interest At Heart,
And The Good Of The Cosmos As Well,
in order to find our life and live it--
and letting that be that.

Whatever comes next will have to be trusted
to take care of itself
without our speculation,
or even, anticipation
to get in the way
of our finding our life and living it--
of being what the moment needs us to be
moment-by-moment
in each situation as it arises.

That is where our focus belongs.
Doing what needs to be done,
the way only we can do it,
when it needs to be done,
where it needs to be done,
how it needs to be done,
because it needs to be done,
moment-by-moment,
in each situation as it arises.

That is it.

How do we do it?

This is where religion at its best
comes into play,
simply by laying out the blueprint
for finding our life and living it
and encouraging us along the way.

Religion at its best
teaches us to listen to the silence
(Which is God without the theology),
read the silence properly,
and step into living aligned with the silence,
in accord with the Tao
at the heart of life and being,
and doing our thing
the way our life needs us to do it,
all our life long
(And having absolutely nothing at stake
in the outcome).

–0–

04

Snowy Egret 02/21/2019 Oil Paint Rendered — Savanna National Wildlife Refuge, Hardeeville, South Carolina
If the term "free radical" had an image
associated with it,
it would be a perfect metaphor for what is needed
for our times
(Really, for any time!).

Free Radicals whizzing around 
being true to themselves,
in tune with themselves
and with their circumstances,
and working out the conflicts
and contradictions created by their
conjunction
for the good of all concerned
(Whether they realize it is good or not)--
that's our mission 
if we choose to accept it.

Few do. 
And so it is said,
"Many are called, but few choose to heed it,
or do what is asked of them."

That is where we come in!
We adopt as our own modus operandi
the way of Free Radicals,
and swing into action,
saying, doing, and standing for 
those things that cry out to be
said, done and stood for
in each situation as it arises,
no matter what,
all our life long.

This is the Sisyphean Task
required of everyone who would be
who they are asked to be
in the time and place,
the here and now,
of their living.

The work is the same throughout the ages.
Seeing what needs to be done
and doing it the way it needs to be done,
when and where it needs to be done
because it needs to be done,
with no though of what is in it for us,
and no concern for the outcome.
Just sincerity, truth, honesty and good will
meeting the circumstances of their life
head-on and straight-up
in the service of the true good
of all concerned.

That is all that is ever asked of us.
The work is waiting.
Why hold anything back?

Free Radicals!
Awaaaayyyyy! 


 

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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